Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What's the real issue?

There are many things that give one cause for pause in the current environmental frenzy. One is the debate over whether global warming is actually happening and if it is, whether humans are responsible. Another is the rush by businesses and entrepreneurs to cash in by coming up with technologies that supposedly will help the environment -- living off the fad of the land, as it were. But a third is the total absence of an "exit strategy".

We've heard the phrase "exit strategy" in terms of war: how do we end it? The Bush Administration has been criticized for not having an exit strategy in Iraq -- planning a way out -- which is rather silly, because when you're talking about a war, the only true exit strategy is to win. War is not like exploring a cave, where you go in for a "safe" distance, but always know how to get back to the outside world: with war, as Yogi Berra would say, "it's never over 'til it's over".

But one element of an exit strategy is usually clear in a war: what does victory look like? We know a war is over when the other side surrenders (or is wiped out), and we even have an idea of what peacetime looks like at home -- the lights go on again, butter and gasoline are no longer rationed, we don't have to run into the basement when the sirens go off. But here's a question that's been nagging me about the environmental frenzy: what does victory look like in this case?

Does it mean that every body of water is clean? There are no more hurricanes? Every season follows the ideal, platonic definition of a season -- spring, summer, winter, fall? All endangered and threatened species go forth and multiply and cover the earth? Everybody rides a bicycle in neatly condensed communities of high-rises and communal playgrounds, living on tofu and veggie burgers (and considering the lack of pesticide, do you want flies with that?)?

I don't see that picture emerging from this. All I see is an obsession with rooting out all signs of environmental trauma and eliminating them, without a clear picture of the end goal.

Take a look at the paragraph before the last one: second sentence. "No more hurricanes". Every hurricane that's roared ashore in the last eight years has been blamed on global warming (and, by extension, the Bush Administration, for not doing anything about it; people seem to forget that Bubba had eight years in the White House, with Al Gore right next to him, to do something about it, and that didn't happen). It's become a mantra, without people stopping to question whether that really is the case.

This isn't to deny that there have been some wicked hurricanes in the past, and that they seem to be more intense and destructive and clustered one on top of the other. But could you ever imagine a world without hurricanes? How much would we have to monkey around with God's creation, that we could eliminate hurricanes? Might as well talk about eliminating earthquakes.

Famines and disease outbreaks have also been blamed on global warming. Interestingly enough, the many, varied and highly destructive earthquakes and tsunamis that we've seen in recent years have not been blamed on global warming. That might stretch credulity to the point where even some CBC reporters might say, "oh, yeah?".

Now, look at the fact that anything from the "me-generation" to "Pride" to the fact that Vancouver's Downtown East Side very closely resembles Dodge City, and you see that "the love of many (has waxed) cold". Add it all together, and what do you get? Signs that Jesus foretold of His return -- along with a lot of prophecies from Isaiah to Revelation.

So we have to ask ourselves: when we rush out in a panic to buy the latest "green" technology or contemplate selling our car and doing everything by bike, are we trying to save the planet, or are we trying to eliminate the signs of Jesus' return and thereby forestall that return?

Think about it. After all, if you have a cold, you can take Day-Quil and make it through the day without sniffling or sneezing, but you still have the cold (and are probably contagious). What if we eliminated greenhouse gas emissions altogether? Would that prevent the world from seeing Jesus?

Not a bit of it. But it might prevent the much of the world from seeing Jesus in time, and that's good enough for the enemy. That's why it's important for Christians to recognize what's going on and deal with the real issue, by spreading the Gospel, shining their light far and wide and leading as many people to Christ as possible.

Remember: even though he loses, the enemy has an "exit strategy" -- and that includes dragging as many people down with him when he goes.

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